Port Suffering
Port Suffering, the largest permanent settlement on Iocanthos, is a sturdy fortified town that serves as the base for Imperial operations on the planet. The town’s largest and most important feature is its spaceport, an expanse of rockcrete broken by docking clamps and refuelling ports that can accommodate the landing craft that deliver supplies and pick up Ghostfire shipments. Equally important for the people living in Port Suffering are the huge freshwater tanks beneath the town. Freshwater is very valuable on Iocanthos, and Port Suffering not only has its own supply brought down on Imperial ships, but can trade its surplus water to the warlords (mainly for guarantees that the warlords will not attack the town).

Port Suffering’s architecture is based around a standard hab-block pattern since most of its buildings, from the chapel to the accommodation blocks, were dropped from spaceships directly to the surface when the town was first founded as an Imperial trading post. Its dry, dusty streets and prefabricated rust-red buildings are home to a community mostly geared towards maintaining the spaceport and ensuring that the port remains self-sufficient. The town’s population is broadly Emperor-fearing and law-abiding, and they attend the town’s chapel and send their children to the seminary school run by Preacher Goudt. The largest building in Port Suffering is the Administratum counting-house where the town’s small body of adepts calculates the projected Ghostfire crop and receives envoys from the various warlords.

The consul in charge of the counting-house, Adept-Interlocutor Sabetha Kosloff, serves as the de facto mayor of Port Suffering, sometimes against her will as she is not very good at dealing with townsfolk and would rather stick to ensuring that the Emperor’s forms are correctly filed. Other important citizens include the sharp-tongued but compassionate Sister Xanthe, the Sister Hospitaller who runs Port Suffering’s hospital along with a small staff of inexperienced laymen. Unkind rumors suggest that Sister Xanthe was given her thankless post as a punishment by her canoness at the Abbey of the Dawn. Port Suffering’s walls are always manned by the citizens who serve in the Port Militia.

Port Suffering is home to a single garrison of Adeptus Arbites, numbering about a dozen strong. As it is their duty to police the planet itself, they are often out on patrols or working on lone cases. Proctor-Laureate Lestano Dietz leads them and has worked hard to make the small resources at his disposal effective tools of justice.

The town’s greatest protection, however, is the fact that it is considered neutral by most of Iocanthos’s warlords. If Port Suffering was to be attacked, the more powerful warlords would lose their supply of weapons, freshwater and fuel from the Imperium and what little structure that exists on Iocanthos would fall apart. Some lesser warlords eye the support received by the more powerful with jealousy, however, and endlessly plan to launch devastating raids on Port Suffering. Should this ever happen, the stoutness of the town’s defenses and the dedication of its well-armed but inexperienced militia will be sorely tested.

Key LocationsEdit

Spaceport - Occupying the flat ground at the base of the ridge on which Port Suffering is built, the spaceport is a large area of hard-packed scorched ground, punctuated with rectangular pads of rockcrete and heavy-duty docking clamps surrounded by a high wire fence to keep out wandering creatures. Transports sit along the north-western fence where they draw fuel from the main reservoirs beyond the port in preparation for refueling vessels. Industrial walkers plod throughout the area, unloading much-needed supplies or hefting pallets of barrels holding precious Ghostfire pollen. The air smells of burnt metal and chemicals and a haze hangs over the place from the scorched earth, even when no lifters or shuttles are present.

Administratum Counting House - The counting house is one of the few structures in Port Suffering that is not cheaply made and shoddily built. Monolithic and intimidating, it towers over the rest of the accommodation blocks, constructed of black stone and decorated with the symbols of the Administratum and the Imperium. Armed guards monitor passers-by from fortified balconies and shelters, and only those citizens who have legitimate business are allowed to approach the place, let alone enter. Adept-Interlocutor Sabetha Kosloff, the consul in charge, is not a popular person with either her staff or the locals, and she never leaves the building’s shadow corridors if it can be helped.

The Alms House - Port Suffering’s hospital is a grim structure, being a fusion of a dozen or so hab-blocks that house sick and injured workers. Terminally underresourced and understaffed, the alms house is run by the acerbic Sister Xanthe and has a reputation as a charnel house, where the doomed gather to die rather than a place of healing.

The Pits - Part marketplace and part slum, this section of the town is home to any number of exiles, freaks and vagabonds who have wound up here through misfortune and necessity. Few structures are permanent, with most being clusters of tents and wagons arranged haphazardly. In spite of its poor reputation, the Pits is one of the commercial backbones of Port Suffering and it’s here where travelers can hire guards and transport, purchase materials and ammunition, and seek out information.

The Refectories - This walled compound is maintained by the Imperium for adepts and such that visit the town. Most travelers are put up for the night here in austere hospitality.

The Works - A series of ugly squat buildings and silos where the Ghostfire pollen is refined and stored for shipping, the whole area is clouded with choking dust thrown up by the refining process.

Bastion Wall - A 20 metre-tall adamantine metal wall completely encircles Port Suffering. Studded with gun emplacements and sentry posts, it is a formidable defense that ensures that none of the violent warbands drift too close or, worse, lay siege to the community. The wall is more than just a simple barrier: it is a symbol, a physical division that separates the violence and hostility of the Barrens from what passes as civilized life within the settlement.

Sights and Sounds of Port SufferingEdit

Port Suffering is a crowded, ramshackle and anarchic place. The buildings are an overbuilt mismatch of prefabricated metal sheeting, clay brickwork faced with crumbling plaster and stone blocks baking in the sun. Everything here is drab and dusty, hot and reeking of scorched metal. The locals are grimy and hard-faced, and have a scavenged appearance wearing patched coveralls, headscarves and coats, most stained a flat grey-brown with dust.

During the day the main streets are a sea of dust-stained workers, and anyone walking them will feel the press of people, the din of a hundred different dialects and the strange iron-sweet stink of Ghostfire flowers hanging heavy in the air, mingling with the heat and stink of too many people crowded into a single space.

Important CharactersEdit